Not Fair, My Lady! by Colleen Somerville Productions
This musical is officially at the very top of my must-see list. It takes a tough look at misogyny and sexism, mainly in Broadway musicals, but also everywhere in general. They’ve parodied familiar songs and created medleys of problematic lyrics from a range of musicals, from Carousel to Guys and Dolls and (of course) My Fair Lady. The show moves quickly, and there’s a lot packed in, but it’s nothing these amazing women can’t handle with ease. It’s smart, sarcastic, funny… basically all of the things. And they’re using it as a platform to raise money for the League of Professional Theatre Women, which works to give voice and representation to women in theatre. Make a reservation ASAP because it will sell out. I’m already ready for them to remount it post-Fringe.
Dreaming by Gabriel Mata/Movements
Gabriel uses this dance piece to look at the psychology of dreams, but it’s so much more than a dance piece. There’s no question that Gabriel is an incredible dancer who moves like water around the stage. His limbs seem impossibly long, and he exhibits amazing control over his body. The middle of the piece involves Gabriel talking himself through nightmares and figuring out how to keep them at bay. While the subject matter is serious, he has a great sense of humor and I laughed way more than I expected to. Between the music choices, the lighting, and both Gabriel’s dance and acting components, I genuinely love everything about this show.
Couple Fight: The Musical! by Weggel-Reed Productions
If you could reenact a fight you’ve had with your partner on stage in front of a live audience, would you? I’m not sure that I would, but that’s exactly what happens in this show. While they’ve presented Couple Fight with different stories at past Fringes, this is the first time it’s taken musical form thanks to the talents of musical director Keith Hovis, and I couldn’t be happier. Performance gems include Max Wojtanowicz and Emily Dussault: I could listen to them sing all day. And each “fight” is tailored to the couple which added an extra level of personalization. For example, Divya Maiya and Mahdu Bangalore have a bit of Bollywood dancing incorporated into their sketch, and Allison Witham offers physical theater during her sketch with Emily. While they’re not all actual fights per se, the concept stays true to the Couple Fight spirit, and it’s a clear crowd-pleaser.
I Killed the Cow by The Herd
Larissa Marten uses this piece to work through her sexual assault. While I found it challenging to grasp some of the abstract concepts, overall I appreciated experiencing her portray various moments from throughout her life that have impacted her. She views herself in comparison to cows in the animal agriculture industry and how we use them and their bodies, and how that in turn affects the environment (whether on a micro- or macro-level). It’s heartfelt and thought-provoking.
Swimming Against Fate by All’s Swole That Ends Swole
Playwright Jack Squier has a lovely concept to offer but it still feels like a work in progress: two non-binary teens traverse a non-linear story about their friendship, from the silly times to the struggles. Logan Gilbert-Guy and Elijah Charlot do their best to keep up with the multiple scene and time changes, and I commend this young cast and crew for presenting this at Fringe. We need more works from young artists who identify outside of the binary, so I’m happy to have experienced this show.
If you’re interested in seeing more queer theatre, check out 20% Theatre Company.
The Minnesota Fringe Festival runs through August 12. Learn more at www.minnesotafringe.org